Exhibition, Benjamin Swett: New York City of Trees
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
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The photography exhibition New York City of Trees by Benjamin Swett is on view in the Arsenal Gallery from March 6 through April 26 (Arbor Day and Frederick Law Olmsted’s birthday). Twenty-eight color portraits of trees around the five boroughs take the viewer up close to some of the extraordinary species that grow along the streets and in the parks, cemeteries, gardens, and backyards of the city. On view in the Arsenal Gallery from March 6 through April 26 (Arbor Day and Frederick Law Olmsted’s birthday), the images have been selected from Swett’s forthcoming book New York City of Trees, to be released by the Quantuck Lane Press on March 6.
After working at Parks for thirteen years, Swett left in 2001 to pursue a career as a freelance photographer but continued to photograph New York City’s urban forest, fascinated by the connections between trees and the city’s history. “We know that trees improve living conditions in cities by filtering and cooling the air, absorbing excess rainwater, and making neighborhoods more attractive,” writes Swett. “But little has been said about the importance of trees as keepers of a city’s past. The aim in taking these pictures—aside from taking the best photographs I could—was to try to bring back into focus an aspect of the city that most people tend to take for granted until something happens to it. The idea has been to remind New Yorkers how much of their own lives and the lives of neighbors these trees quietly contain.”
This project was partially funded through a grant from Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, with additional support from the City Parks Foundation.